Pole Pole

Trip Start Sep 14, 2007
Trip End Oct 13, 2007

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Flag of Kenya  , Lamu,
Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Wow - what can I say about Lamu.  It's close to paradise. 
They have two mottos here - hakuna matata (no worries) and pole pole
(slowly slowly).
Lai and I arrived on Saturday afternoon.  The flight was good (late of course) and

offered us a fantastic view of the coastline as we landed on Manda
Island.  Unfortunately Lai's bag didn't land with us but had been
taken off the plane at our brief stop at Malindi en route.  The
locals took it very calmly, as did Lai,and they assured us it would
arrive on the next flight the following day.  Now, Kenyan official
systems aren't usually the most reliable but sure enough the bag
arrived the following afternoon, much to Lai's relief.
On arriving
at Manda Island we had to take a short ferry ride to Lamu Island where
we would be staying.  We got our first glimpse of Lamu town as we
floated towards the dock.  It's a beautiful place - an old Swahili
Muslim town, a maze of narrow paths and alleyways, whitewashed and
tumbling buildings, little shops tucked away here and there, a
beautiful waterfront and not a single car, just donkeys.  It is
like stepping back in time.
We had reserved beds at Casuarina
Resthouse for our first night, a lovely little place right on the
waterfront with a great roof terrace and only three pound each per
night.  On checking in, we went to explore the town.  As it
is Ramadahn at the moment nearly all of the restaurants are closed
until sundown (it is also quite hard to get alcohol here
unfortunately!) but we
did find one little café open for business. 
that evening we went for a lovely meal at Hapa Hapa restaurant where
the owner showed us how to play one of the traditional bao (wooden)
games and then we discovered the best bar in town, Petley's Inn. 
It's a great place - a bar and a dancefloor downstairs with another
great roof terrace upstairs.  There we were treated to a display
of traditional Swahili dancing while sinking a few Tusker beers and I
even won a prize in the raffle after picking out my own ticket!!

The following day we decided to check out the next village of Shela,
about a 40 minute walk from Lamu town.  Some Swedish people in
Nakuru had recommended a guy with an apartment here.  The walk to
Shela was lovely, all along the shoreline, and eventually we
reached a beautiful white sandy beach. We couldn't resist a quick swim in the Indian Ocean

- the water was so warm.  After our swim we called the guy about
the apartment.  It's a lovely place right in the middle of
beautiful Shela village with a great terrace overlooking the
ocean.  At about five pounds each per night we took it
That night we wanted to go back to Lamu for
the reggae night at Petley's.  By the time we had drunk a couple
of beers on the terrace it was dark and we knew we would need a boat to
take us there.  We walked down to the main hotel in Shela and
found 3 Rasta guys (this place if full of Rastas) who offered to take
us there and back (staying with us at the Reggae night in the
meantime).  They were completely stoned but great fun and we
enjoyed watching all the locals dance the night away.  Their boat
was a traditional dhow.  It was a magical experience to sail along
in the moonlight with hundreds of stars twinkling behind the huge white
sail - not something I will forget in a hurry.
The last two days
have basically been spent on the beach in Shela or in and around the
apartment, just relaxing after our three weeks of work.  The place
is so friendly - everyone
knows everyone else and most people stop
to say hello and have a chat.  To be fair, there is often a reason
- they want to sell you something or offer you a trip or a service and
it can get a bit tiring after a while - but I think they would be
friendly even if they had nothing to sell.  It's just that kind of
place.  Tomorrow we are hoping to take a dhow trip around the
islands for the day, with a bit of fishing and a bbq lunch on the beach
- it should be another great day.
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